Strive is a Mental Performance Training practice based out of Denver, CO.
The quote on our website home page is an excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 speech Citizenship in a Republic.
More famously known as “The Man in The Arena”, the passage was a major inspiration for the naming of this practice, and a cornerstone of our approach in working with clients.
The reason is simple. For those of us who want to do great things – who are committed to achieving the often lofty goals we have set for ourselves – living in the arena is a requirement. The path to excellence demands that we put forth great effort and passion in our pursuit of high performance. Those that we consider “The Best” are the ones that were willing to put it all out there, without a guarantee that it would work out; they have known great triumph, in part, because they were also willing to know defeat.
It comes as no surprise that life in the arena is rife with challenge. Those who thrive within it are those that have trained not only their body and craft, but also their mind. That is the role that Strive is excited to play in the journey of all our clients: To work with you to build up your mental strength and stamina so that you can consistently show up in the arena as the highest performing version of yourself.
Growing up the youngest of three in the Pacific Northwest, competition was in my blood. From day one, I was hustling; whether it was in school, sport, or music, I wanted to be the best. I was loud and passionate and competitive and unafraid; to some people, I was a lot. What I loved about sport, though, was that it provided a space where I could be all of those things. Win or lose, sport demanded I work hard and push myself to my limit; it, more than anything else, gave me glimpses of what I was made of - what I could do and who I could be. I just loved the game.
As I worked my way through high school and college, though, my relationship with sport (and school) changed. I got hyper-focused on how I was stacking up to those around me, instead of staying dialed in on my own development. I became overly perfectionistic. I struggled with anxiety. A great deal of my self-worth and identity got wrapped up in results. From an outsider’s perspective, I was doing pretty well. In high school I was a three-sport varsity athlete and captain, and graduated as valedictorian. I accepted an academic scholarship to Purdue University, studied Health & Disease Biology, and graduated again at the top of my class. While I am proud of all of these achievements, the headspace I was in did not allow me to fully enjoy them; to relish the moments and feel truly satisfied and fulfilled. Something was holding me back.
After graduating college, I took a job at a physical therapy clinic outside of Seattle. During my time at the clinic I realized rather quickly that getting a performer’s body healthy was often the easier part of the rehabilitation process; getting their minds back into shape was the much greater challenge. I saw a gap in the system that I knew I wanted to fill – in the same way that strength and conditioning coaches and PTs took care of performers’ bodies, I wanted to tend to their minds. This realization, coupled with my own evolving relationship with high performance, led me to the University of Denver, where I earned my Master's in Sport & Performance Psychology.
While at DU I worked with a range of clients – from youth athletes to Olympic hopefuls to Special Forces Green Berets. I was also provided the space to reflect on my own relationship with high performance. It was there that I finally figured out what had prevented me from feeling truly fulfilled by my past achievements: Somewhere along the way I had unknowingly stepped out of the arena. I had become so attached to my identity as a high performer that I was afraid to fail. So much so that, if I doubted my abilities in something, I wouldn’t try. I would rather not play the game than risk losing it. I felt unfulfilled because in the back of my mind I knew I wasn't giving it all that I had. I had fallen into a fixed, threat-based mindset, and in doing so lost the part of me that was a true competitor.
The beautiful thing about the arena is that it’s always there, waiting for you. So I chose to step back in, and the game changed for me again. I do the work that I do because I believe in the positive power of competitive environments provided by sport, dance, music, and the like. Research shows that we perform better when we are performing alongside others (i.e. when we’re competing) than when we are alone. Indeed, the word competition comes from the Latin roots com- (with, or together) and petere- (to strive or to seek). The word in its purest form, then, can be taken to mean “to strive together.” I love my work because it gives me the opportunity to live in the arena alongside those who thrive in competitive environments; people who know and understand that competition is what gives us the opportunity to be our best and achieve great feats. Those who also have competition in their blood.